How to remodel or build a new home

Getting Started

A substantial whole house remodel or building a house from scratch is a big job. Don't let anyone tell you differently. It can be fun and rewarding assuming you have the budget, the time and the personality for the job.

In California where I live home prices have gone through the roof. When we bought our house, we bought the most house we could afford but really settled for location knowing that eventually we would need to either move or remodel/rebuild. After long discussions and soul searching we decided to rebuild our existing house. We didn't know much about what it would take to complete the process (and I found most resources on the web not very useful) so I am putting this hub together to give everyone else some insight to see if its right for you and maybe give you one or two tips along the way. I will share what general budget information I can but I will not be giving out specific information on my total project cost.

We are in the middle of our project so everything is fresh in my mind and I am not prone to revisionist history (yet).

The basics:

Location: Menlo Park, CA

House project scope: Demolished existing home down to foundation with exception of living room. Expand foundation to expand kitchen area and second floor. Home was 2 bedroom 2 bath and approximately 2700 square feet. Finished project will be 3 bedoom, 3 bath with a playroom and office and approximately 3600 square feet.

Timeline: Construction began August 2007. Planned completion May 2008.

Please send me any comments or questions that you would like me to start with in terms of the project - otherwise I will begin to add content and links as I have time.

Choosing a contractor


Without question this is the most important decision anyone will make regarding the building or remodeling of their home - even for the DIY nut. There are several reasons for this - some obvious and some not so obvious:

(1) There is a ton of knowledge you don't have about what it takes to build a house. Many contractors have 15+ years experience. No matter how smart you think you are - there is no substitute for experience. They will need to pay a lot of attention to detail - not just the aesthetics but scheduling of subs and inspections etc. Some of this is just time - but a lot is experience.

(2) You will need to trust them. A contractor can take advantage of a client so trust is the scond most important thing.

(3) Working relationship. You are going to need to have a working relationship with the contractor. One contractor I met with did not give out his cell phone to clients. He said they would waste his time all day with questions. It was clear this was not someone that was going to fit my style. I also couldnt work with a contractor that does not use email. Some do - some don't. If my parents were building a house they probably wouldn't care.

There are many others - anyone want to comment? Next post will be how to interview to hire the right contractor.

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MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

Looks like construction under way and no red lights. Congratulations

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